As the holidays approach and the darkness settles in, many of us will likely experience complicated feelings around food. If this resonates with you, I offer my latest essay, Food as a Portal—to Myself, in which I break open my relationship with food and deepen my relationship with myself and my culture in the process.
One dish that helped me understand the power of food is bakso, an Indonesian meatball and noodle soup:
Inside that bakso, held tenderly by its ingredients, I felt connection, nostalgia, joy, deep nourishment, and equally deep sorrow and grief. That bowl of bakso was a portal to my past, to the parts of me I had long neglected, revealing the invisible strings that tether me to my loved ones, my past, and my legacy, despite time and distance. And this portal has always been there—I just had to walk through.
Food is, of course, essential to our lives, but it can also be an important connection to our cultures, our histories, and our own sense of self. So we want to hear from you, dear readers, about your own connections to food. What food makes you feel connected to your roots? Maybe you make it during the holidays to enjoy with loved ones, maybe you cook it when you’re sad and need some comfort, or maybe you have a perfect combination of flavors and spices that sends your senses soaring.
In the comments below, tell us about the food that moves you—and you may see it on YES! Our editors will select several responses to have illustrated and shared on the YES! website and social media in the coming weeks.
Ayu Sutriasa is the digital editor at YES!, where she edits stories in the health and wellness beat, in addition to specializing in gender and body politics. She currently lives on unceded Duwamish territory, also known as Seattle, Washington. She speaks English and French. Find more of her writing on Substack.